The first meeting of The Pike County Firemens Association was held on
When the Lord was creating firefighters, he was into his sixth day of overtime when an angel appeared and said, "You're doing a lot of fiddling around on this one." And the Lord said, "Have you read the specification on this person? Firefighters have to be able to go for hours fighting fires or tending to a person that the usual everyday person would never touch, while putting in the back of their minds the circumstances. They have to be able to move at a second's notice and not think twice of what they are about to do, no matter what danger. They have to be in top physical condition at all times, running on half-eaten meals, and they must have six pairs of hands." The angel shook her head slowly and said, "Six pairs of hands...no way." "It's not the hands that are causing me problems," said the Lord, "it's the three pairs of eyes a firefighter has to have." "That's on the standard model?" asked the angel. The Lord nodded. "One pair of eyes to see through the fire and where they and their fellow fire fighters should fight the fire next. The second pair here in the side of the head to see their fellow firefighters and keep them safe. And the third pair of eyes in the front so that they can look for the victims caught in the fire who need their help." "Lord," said the angel, touching his sleeve, "rest and work on this tomorrow." "I can't," said the Lord, "I already have a model that can carry a 250-pound man down a flight of stairs to safety from a burning building, and can feed a family of five on a civil service paycheck." The angel circled the model of the fire fighter very slowly; "Can it think?" "You bet," said the Lord. "They can tell you the elements of a hundred fires and can recite procedures in their sleep that are needed to care for a person until they reach the hospital. And all the while they have to keep their wits about them. Fire fighters also have phenomenal personal control. They can deal with a scene full of pain and hurt, coaxing a child's mother into letting go of the child so that they can care for the child in need. And still they rarely get the recognition for a job well done from anybody, other than from fellow firefighters." Finally, the angel bent over and ran her finger across the cheek of the fire fighter. "There's a leak," she pronounced. "Lord, it's a tear. What's the tear for?" "It's a tear from bottled-up emotions for fallen comrades. A tear for commitment to that funny piece of cloth called the American flag. It's a tear for all the pain and suffering they have encountered. And it's a tear for their commitment to caring for and saving lives of their fellow man!" "What a wonderful feature. Lord, you're a genius", said the angel. The Lord looked very somber at the angel and said, "I didn't put it there."
Saint Florian, the patron saint of firefighters, was an officer in the Roman army during the third century. Saint Florian had converted to Christianity but kept his new faith a secret to avoid persecution. When ordered to execute a group of Christians during the persecutions of Diocletian, Saint Florian professed his faith and refused to follow the order. He then had a stone tied around his neck and he was thrown into a river where he drowned. Florian is said to have once stopped an entire town from burning by throwing a single bucket of water onto the fire. Saint Florian is the patron saint of firefighters, chimney sweeps, barrel-makers, soap boilers, harvests,
The tradition of bagpipes played at fire department funerals in the
It wasn't until the great potato famine and massive Irish immigration to the East Coast of the
Those who have been to funerals know when bagpipes play how haunting and mournful the sound of the pipes can be. Before too long, families and friends of non-Irish firefighters began asking for the piper to play for these fallen heroes. The pipes add a special air and dignity to the solemn occasion.
Associated with cities such as
Today, the tradition is universal and not just for the Irish or Scottish. The pipes have come to be a distinguishing feature of a fallen hero's funeral.
The Maltese cross is known around the world as a symbol of the fire service. It is often seen painted on fire trucks, on the clothing of firefighters, depicted on firefighters badges, and is quite often the chosen design of firefighter tattoos. So where did the Maltese cross come from, and how did it get to be known as a symbol of the fire service?
The Maltese cross is named after the
The Knights of St. John were also known for their care of the sick and injured. Combined with their abilities to fight fires, and the pride and honor they took in their work, the Maltese cross seems a fitting symbol of the modern fire service. Firefighting is a proud profession, and only a symbol of pride would exemplify the work of a firefighter.